An invaluable resource for any manager or professional, this book offers a collection of proven, practical methods for simplifying any problem and making faster, better decisions every time.
From the Hardcover edition.
From the Hardcover edition.
Actually I was triggered to buy this book is because the author was an ex-CIA. I guess when he left, he brought all his techniques with him in his head!
I wish the Bush Administration and Tony Blair should refer to this book (especially the Hypothesis Testing) when they have "irrefutable evidence" that Saddam Hussein has WMD in his cellar.
The reason I did not give him 5-stars is because it is all texts and tables which makes it a dry read.
Let's face it: seeing is not believing. It is the other way around. People usually see only the things they believe in.
According to Morgan D. Jones, once we believe something, our favorite mode of operation is to jump to conclusions: "Failure to consider alternatives fully is the most common cause of flawed or incomplete analysis. In other words, we must learn how to keep an open mind - one of the most difficult things we human beings can do."
Morgan D. Jones's book has two parts: (1) a short introduction into the way we habitually think, and the strengths and weaknesses of this process, (2) fourteen "tools" how to address the weaknesses and improve the process of thinking. It is a practical primer on decision-making, a hands-on manual how to structure one's analysis and keep an open mind for alternatives. In short, it tries to teach how to get away from a purely instinctual analysis of a problem to a structured analysis that will, hopefully, yield better results.
Bottom-line: lots of value for your money, in particular if you are convinced that you are the most rational decision-maker in town (you'll buy an eye-opener).
It has three parts: (1) 50 pages on the basics of problem solving and decision making, (2) a collection of the fourteen tools that will make you an effective problem solver or decision maker, and (3) Next steps for refining your problem solving.
Part 1 prepares you by getting you to think about thinking and providing insights to problem solving - sort of like a warm up before you engage in strenuous exercise. This is appropriate because as you work through the exercises associated with each tool you will be getting a strenuous mental workout - the author makes you think hard throughout the book.
The tools given in this book are the foundation of any problem solving process. Although the author presents them in their most basic form, there are endless variations of them (and you will recognize many as you read through this book). Each tool is presented by giving some background, situations in which the particular tool is most effective, step-by-step procedures for using the tool and exercises. Answers to each exercise, including worked examples, are provided in the back of the book. The tools themselves are: (1) Problem restatement, (2) PROs-CONs-FIXes, (3) Divergent Thinking, (4) Sorting, Chronologies and Timelines, (5) Causal Flow Diagramming, (6) Matrices, (7) Decision/Event Trees, (8) Weighted Ranking, (9) Hypothesis Testing, (10) Devil's Advocacy, (11) Probability Tree, (12) Utility Tree, (13) Utility Matrix and (14) Advanced Utility Analysis.
I cannot point to any one thing I like more than another in this excellent book.Read more ›